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Eat My Words: Meet Martha Freud

Launching her Conran Shop-exclusive ‘Eat My Words’ tableware and 'Lit' scented candle collections, Martha Freud discusses her creative journey and what The Conran Shop means to her.

Mrs Freud is a British artist and designer known for her delicately constructed ceramics displaying playful slogans. Walking the line between wordplay and philosophical reflection, Freud’s work is refreshingly earnest and thoughtfully crafted. She has recently returned to the public eye after a period of reprieve working on private commissions; we are honoured to premiere her debut collection.

Martha Freud

1. Hello Mrs Freud, and welcome to The Conran Shop! Please may you introduce yourself and your work to our readers?

Thank you! It is an honour to be here! I’m an artist who lives and works in London. A favourite theme amongst my work is playing with the arrangement and placement of words in/on ceramic objects, how their location affects their meaning, and how they interact with the objects.

2. What informs the slogans adorning your creations?

I get inspiration for my words from anywhere - snippets of conversations, song lyrics, feelings that I have, memes, mantras... If I register something that strikes a chord with me, I make a note of it and play with the different environments or textures I can take it to.

3. Might you have a personal favourite witty quip from the collection?

That’s a very difficult question! They are all my favourites for different reasons, although some will take a preference depending on my mood in that moment. If I had to choose - of the plates it would be “Well, Well, Well, If It Isn’t The Consequences Of My Own Actions,” and of the candles, it’s “The Time To Hesitate Is Through,” inspired by The Doors' hit song.

4. As an artist working with craft, how do the parameters of the material affect your creative process?

I love working with clay; as a material, the possibilities are so vast that people have been working with it for thousands of years and are still testing its limits or making something new with it. I enjoy the challenge of finding out what its boundaries are - if you push it too far, it lets you know - and seeing how I can use it as a canvas for my personal experiences. There is always something to learn working with clay. As an artist, it is a material I keep coming back to, but if a concept calls for a different texture or quality, then I will honour that.

5. Your work epitomises The Conran Shop’s design philosophy in its playful, thoughtful yet functional nature; might you have any favourites from our offering to complement your work?

I think the Kaari Wall Shelf is perfect for displaying a statement candle or plate on the wall, or the Tulip Side Table in Nero Marquina marble would make a beautiful base to arrange them on.

6. Your recent exhibition at the NoneMore Gallery in Fitzrovia offered a rare opportunity to connect with viewers one-on-one, as you were present for workshops throughout that created a live installation. What did you learn from this experience?

Being able to connect with the people who came to the exhibition was so important to me - we were coming out of the lockdowns, and I wanted to share the experience with people who came, and gift them the opportunity of playing with clay. Making with your hands is such a calming, almost therapeutic thing to do, and I wanted to create a safe space where anyone could come and express themselves in this medium in any way they wished.

There were no rules, and it was a judgement-free zone - then out of all these individual expressions they came together and created something really beautiful. Confessions were made at that table, worries were shared, there was a lot of laughter, and some friendships were made. At the open events, I never knew who was going to come or how long they would stay, so each workshop was as original as the art that was made. It reminded me of the joy of coming together to create.

7. What are your ambitions moving forward? Are there any exciting projects in the works?

There are some really exciting things happening, but frustratingly nothing I can reveal yet - soon though…

Shop Mrs Freud's favourites below and peruse the rest of her collection online and in the mesmerising Black Box in Chelsea. Plus, be sure to follow her on Instagram.